KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas health officials reported more than 200 confirmed coronavirus cases and a fourth death Friday, and the state’s health director said he doesn’t expect the spread of the virus to peak until mid- to late April.
All four of the state’s deaths occurred in the Kansas City area, with the latest a man in his 80s with underlying health conditions who died Thursday, health officials said.
The state reported at least 202 confirmed cases of the virus, an increase of 34 from Thursday.
WHEN WILL THE VIRUS PEAK?
Dr. Lee Norman, the state’s health secretary, said at a news briefing Friday that data suggests the state’s coronavirus spread will peak in mid- to late April and he forecast that Kansas could record at least 900 cases.
Norman acknowledged that the forecast supposes that people in the state will follow health officials’ advice to stay home as much as possible. He said he was concerned that many still don’t seem to be taking the pandemic seriously.
If the data is accurate, Norman is optimistic the state’s health care system will have the capacity to treat all the patients without resorting to commandeering hotels or building temporary facilities, as some other states have done.
The state’s testing laboratory is getting new equipment that will help increase testing from the current 175 tests per day to as many as 1,000 per day. Private labs in Kansas also are increasing the number of tests they are running, which helps the state’s response to the virus, he said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Coronavirus-related developments in Kansas:
UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS HEALTH SYSTEM
The University of Kansas Health System says it is caring for 18 COVID-19 patients.
Hospital officials said in a news briefing Friday that two more people were admitted with the virus on Thursday. Ten of the 18 are in the intensive care unit and six are on ventilators. The other patients are in a unit dedicated to COVID-19 patients
FORT RILEY SOLDIER ILL
Fort Riley in Manhattan is reporting its first confirmed case of the coronavirus. Riley County and fort officials announced Thursday that the soldier who tested positive does not require hospitalization and is in isolation at his home in Manhattan.
The soldier is believed to have contracted the COVID-19 virus while traveling out of state but officials haven’t said where he went.
Fort Riley requires a 14-day quarantine for service members who have traveled outside the region, have been in close contact with confirmed cases and those being tested.
KANSAS STATE GRADUATION CHANGES
Kansas State University says students whose spring graduation ceremony has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic will be honored during the fall 2020 commencement in December.
Kansas State has moved to remote classes for the rest of the semester, as have most other universities and colleges in the state.